Arianna Huffington is a brilliant businesswoman with an extraordinary sense of timing — first riding the feminist wave to write a best seller accusing Picasso of womanizing, then going conservative to marry a multi-millionaire Republican, and then switching to the liberal/progressive side and founding the most successful new media news and opinion site extant.
It’s also long been clear she is a political thinker with the depth and conviction of a nepticulid moth. Arianna is driven almost entirely by self-interest. Her lifestyle, if not her putative ideas, would make Ayn Rand proud. The principle motivation for her quixotic run for governor in California appeared to have been to be photographed next to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So what can we glean from the substantial sale of the Huffington Post, beside the obvious — that the HuffPo’s investors wanted to get their money out and that already economically shaky AOL seems to have overpaid? Well, there is more important news in this: To the consternation of the HuffPo faithful, the re-upped HuffPo on AOL is apparently going more centrist, concentrating on more popular fare (they’ve been going that way already) and abjuring the political. As Dana Milbank wrote in the Washington Post:
AOL Chairman Tim Armstrong said he thinks “Arianna has the same interest we do, which is serving consumers’ needs and going beyond the just straight political needs of people.” Huffington agreed, boasting that only 15 percent of her eponymous site’s traffic is for politics (that’s down from 50 percent a couple of years ago), and she emphasized that politics is just one of two dozen “sections,” including a new one devoted to covering divorces.